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Author:Lancaster, Pat
Position::Arab Spring - Editorial
 
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[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The last few weeks have brought about enormous change in the Middle East; change few of us would have predicted for 2011.

First Tunisia, then Egypt, ousted their ageing leaders. The struggle for freedom continues in Libya, Syria and other countries where the people have decided that political freedom is worth fighting for and, in some cases, even dying for.

For sure the genie is out of the bottle and things will never be the same.

In such a political climate, can we begin to hope some of the reforms brought about by the Arab Spring will extend to the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories? After years of divisive bickering, the May cooperation agreement struck between Fateh and Hamas was the first positive sign that it might.

Then, US President Obama threw his hat into the ring, promising "a new chapter" in US diplomacy. On the eve of a visit to the US by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Mr Obama placed Washington firmly on the side of political reform, not only in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but also in Syria, and for the first time in Bahrain--a long-term trusted ally of the US.

In terms of the 62-year-old conflict between Israel and Palestine there is little new President...

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